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cheapest (and easiest) possible way of getting shp files in illustrator

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#1
polyconic

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hi there,

i'm an information designer and illustrator, not a real gis person.

i use manifold to create some of my maps and am very happy with it so far, great (very complex, but i guess thats unavoidable..) software value for the price.

right now i plan a little tech-tutorial for the inhouse infographic staff at a local german newspaper. they are quite old fashioned and still scan in paper maps to manually trace them in illustrator. the aim of my tutorial is to show them new ways of map creation using online ressources like OSM and Natural Earth.

Unfortunately without a gis (which is way too complex for them, i guess) you only get so far as most of the available data is distributed in shapefile format.

First Question Here: Is there a cheap (maybe a small open source or freeware app) way of importing shapefiles maybe even reproject them and exporting them in a format that illustrator is able to read?

Second Question: Ive included chapters on Google Earth/Maps, OSM, MapCompare, MapsForFree, CartoTalk, any other idea which online Ressources should be included?

Any advice is very much appreciated, polyconic

#2
David Medeiros

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Easiest way to get GIS line-work into Illustrator is to export it as a PDF from the GIS itself. Arc does this, not sure about Manifold. You may be able to "print to PDF" if there is no export option. Other file export options are SVG and EPS. Illustrator will read all of these but will not keep attribute or layering information. My approach was to color each layer's features uniformly before exporting as a PDF so I can separate the information back out in Illustrator with the "select all..." function.


Other online resources to consider:

www.naturalearthdata.com
www.shadedrelief.com
colorbrewer2.org
www.typebrewer.com
http://projector.indiemapper.com

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 


#3
Nick H

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First Question Here: Is there a cheap (maybe a small open source or freeware app) way of importing shapefiles maybe even reproject them and exporting them in a format that illustrator is able to read?

SHP2SVG works well for me:

http://www.carto.net.../utils/shp2svg/

For projecting or reprojecting shapefiles I use ogr2ogr from FWtools.

Both run from a command line, for which your people might not care, but perhaps the processes of projecting the shapefiles and creating the SVGs from them could all be run from a batch file along the lines of one recently posted by Hans. Put the batch file in the directory with the shapefiles and click the batch file icon! Your guys should like this.

The last batch file I wrote was under CP/M, I have some catching-up to do :).

Regards, N.
Caversham, Reading, England.

#4
James Hines

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Export the data out of Manifold as an AI or PDF after you setup the layout. Of course you could always buy MAPublisher.

"There is much beauty that we fail to see through our own eyes teeming with life forms that give us that perception of our reality.  Leaves on the trees blowing gently in the wind, or scarily, the waves pounding through high surf, or lightly on a warm summer’s day; that opportunity to sit or swim in the water on a white beach.   That comfort to shout, “The universal conscious do you hear me?  I am alive, guide me dear logos towards the path of rightnesses.”  Earned what has been kept, no longer to be absorbed into a life filled with cold damn winds and  that stubborn fog clouding  my vision with nothing but darkness."


#5
François Goulet

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Have you tried Quantum GIS? It's very easy to use, even with a basic training. Not too hard to open a couple of shapefiles, zoom to the area of interest and project it before exporting it to a format Illy can read...

#6
Nick H

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Have you tried Quantum GIS? It's very easy to use, even with a basic training. Not too hard to open a couple of shapefiles, zoom to the area of interest and project it before exporting it to a format Illy can read...


This is a good idea too. Recent versions of QGIS have a plug-in that will download and render OSM data, though nothing like as well as it is rendered by Mapnik on the OSM web site. From here it can be projected and exported as SVG (as vectors).

But it's all coming, there is a plug-in (Quantumnik) that will render OSM data using Mapnik, in QGIS. Setting this up is highly complicated and I haven't done it, but for a taster see:

http://dbsgeo.com/sc...web_800_600.mov

Regards, N.
Caversham, Reading, England.

#7
springmeyer

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Have you tried Quantum GIS? It's very easy to use, even with a basic training. Not too hard to open a couple of shapefiles, zoom to the area of interest and project it before exporting it to a format Illy can read...


This is a good idea too. Recent versions of QGIS have a plug-in that will download and render OSM data, though nothing like as well as it is rendered by Mapnik on the OSM web site. From here it can be projected and exported as SVG (as vectors).

But it's all coming, there is a plug-in (Quantumnik) that will render OSM data using Mapnik, in QGIS. Setting this up is highly complicated and I haven't done it, but for a taster see:

http://dbsgeo.com/sc...web_800_600.mov

Regards, N.


Hi Nick,

One of the main reasons that the Mapnik rendered maps using OSM data look good (like those at http://osm.org, http://openstreetmap.nl, or http://mapbox.com) is that the .osm data is pre-processed by the brilliant osm2pgsql program while being inserted into a PostGIS database. It is this topological processing and filtering before and within the database that then gives fast and flexible access to the creation of sophisticated styles and layers that Mapnik can render.

The same can be done by reading the .osm file directly by Mapnik, but fewer style examples for this exist and is not nearly as fast. That said, it surely does make it easier to get quick maps going, and the direct reading of .osm files through QGIS and the Quantumnik plugin is something that I do plan to work to support more in the future. The next release of Quantumnik (0.3.3) will support direct reading of .osm files that are being viewed inside of QGIS using the QGIS openstreetmap editing plugin.

Getting all this running should not be overly complicated (once a few tutorials are written), so let me know if you run into any trouble.

One gocha is that support for this is not as good on Windows, for example, Mapnik's ability to read .osm data directly is not yet supported on Windows, only Mac and Linux.

For windows users the easiest way is to load .osm data into sqlite/spatiallite, which is what that Screencast you linked to above demos.

#8
Nick H

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...The next release of Quantumnik (0.3.3) will support direct reading of .osm files that are being viewed inside of QGIS using the QGIS openstreetmap editing plugin...
.
.
One gocha is that support for this is not as good on Windows, for example, Mapnik's ability to read .osm data directly is not yet supported on Windows, only Mac and Linux.

For windows users the easiest way is to load .osm data into sqlite/spatiallite, which is what that Screencast you linked to above demos.

I do like the idea of reading OSM files open in the QGIS openstreetmap plugin. The bad news is that I use Vista, so it looks as if the sqlite/spatiallite route is the simplest way to go at present. I'll investigate this.

Many thanks,
Regards, N.
Caversham, Reading, England.

#9
springmeyer

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I do like the idea of reading OSM files open in the QGIS openstreetmap plugin. The bad news is that I use Vista, so it looks as if the sqlite/spatiallite route is the simplest way to go at present. I'll investigate this.

Many thanks,
Regards, N.



I just noticed that the QGIS OpenStreetMap plugin actually creates an sqlite db from the .osm file when you import it (right beside the original .osm file), so the better approach (and easier) may actually be to have the Quantumnik plugin read from the sqlite file which is this case is preprocessed by QGIS to turn certain osm tags into attribute tables for fast filtering (same thing osm2pgsql does).

So, this route should work nicely on windows, just make sure in install the latest Mapnik windows binaries (currently 0.7.0) from:

http://trac.mapnik.o...owsInstallation

#10
polyconic

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hey guys,

been away for a week, now reuturning and seeing all these interesting replies, thanks for that!!

especially the quantum gis hint looks promising, i'll research that right now

thanks again, polyconic

Edited by polyconic, 05 February 2010 - 10:25 AM.





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